The Final Lap Weekly Podcast LogoSHOW #384 – Guests: Erik Jones / TJ Majors – We recap Texas hear from Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs, drop the clinch scenarios on you, Drivers Say What, plus we preview Phoenix and more. Hosted by Kerry Murphey and Toby Christie

( Roughly 48:00 mins)

Continue reading “The Final Lap Weekly NASCAR Podcast #384 – Erik Jones / TJ Majors – Phoenix Preview”

The Final Lap Weekly Podcast LogoSHOW #374 – Guest: Erik Jones – We recap the XFinity and Truck Series races from last weekend, discuss Jennifer Jo Cobb’s expensive iPhone, preview all the cool throwback paint schemes, hear from legends Dale Jarrett and Ken Squire, drivers say what, fantasy racing and bunches more. Hosted by Kerry Murphey and Toby Christie

( Roughly 48:00 mins)

Continue reading “The Final Lap Weekly NASCAR Podcast #374 Erik Jones / Throwback Darlington”

 

JOLIET, IL - JUNE 21:  Erik Jones, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Owens Corning AttiCat 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on June 21, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/NASCAR via Getty Images)

June 21, 2015

By Jack McCarthy
NASCAR Wire Service

JOLIET, Ill. — Erik Jones’ last-ditch push had a victory payoff on Sunday.

Neck-and-neck with Ryan Blaney entering the final dozen laps, Jones finally slipped ahead after a restart and rolled to a 1.958-second victory margin in Sunday’s Owens Corning AttiCat 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway.

“I got the inside of him and just barreled into (turn) three as hard as I could to clear and slid in front,” said Jones, who started 11th in his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. “Fortunately it worked and he didn’t try to cross us over or anything else.”

Jones claimed his second NASCAR XFINITY Series race of the season, recorded his eighth top 10 series finish and completed a weekend sweep that included Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway.

Jones, the youngest NASCAR driver to win two races in the same weekend, has run in all three series this season.

Time behind the wheel has proven invaluable for the 19-year-old driver.

“It seemed like last year I’d be into these situations and be so nervous,” he said. “This time its like ‘I’ve got this.’ I felt like I’ve done it so many times throughout the year and throughout the day that it felt more natural. That’s definitely a product of seat time and being in the car every week or the truck every week.

“It’s been a huge, huge help.”

Jones led 94 of the race’s 200 laps while Blaney topped the field for 43 laps.

The race — the 14th in this season’s XFINITY series — was originally set for 9:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, but was washed out as downpours hit Joliet and the entire Chicago area.

Nearly 14 hours later, Sunday’s restart went off a bit after noon (ET) without a hitch under dry conditions and increasingly sunny skies.

Blaney nearly had a storybook finish as he overcame earlier misfortune to lead the race with less than a dozen laps remaining.

Driving the No. 22 Hertz Ford for Team Penske, Blaney wrecked his primary car in Saturday qualifying, started Sunday with a backup car in the back row but quickly maneuvered into the top 10 and moved into the lead with 45 laps to run.

“I thought it was a good day for us, a decent day,” Blaney said. “I felt like I threw it away yesterday wrecking our primary. For our team to get a backup car out and work as hard as they did and have a car contending for the win and to be leading in the last little bit and then just not pull it off, that really speaks volumes to them about how well they prepared.”

The race featured a track record 23 lead changes, plus seven cautions for 39 laps.

Series points leader Chris Buescher finished fifth and maintained his series lead with 528 points, 29 points ahead of second place Ty Dillon.

He shook off a penalty for speeding on pit road and rallied to the top five.

“It’s a good points day, that’s how it ended up,” Buescher said. “The pit road speeding penalty is on me. … I got us a little bit behind there and put us in a bad spot but the guys did a good job coming back.”

He regained track position when 22 drivers were penalized for pitting too soon with 46 laps remaining.

Chase Elliott, who won last summer’s XFINITY Chicagoland race on the way to the 2014 series championship, spun out with 23 laps to go and finished 14th. He’s still looking for his first win of the season.

Ross Kenseth, driving the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, was sixth in his XFINITY Series debut, a nice rebound after a Friday spinout during practice in his first time running the track.

“In the last two days we were a lot better than my first day here,” said Kenseth, son of 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth. “At the end I thought we were really good — a third, fourth-place car — (but) was a little disappointed we didn’t get into the top five. … But the guys worked so hard at it and gave me a great car this weekend.”

The XFINITY series takes a break this week and resumes with a July 4 race at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR XFINITY Series Race – Owens Corning AttiCat 300
Chicagoland Speedway
Joliet, Illinois
Sunday, June 21, 2015

1. (11) Erik Jones(i), Toyota, 200, $97576.
2. (24) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 200, $66966.
3. (1) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200, $51456.
4. (5) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 200, $41298.
5. (9) Chris Buescher, Ford, 200, $37841.
6. (2) Ross Kenseth, Toyota, 200, $35523.
7. (7) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 200, $32698.
8. (13) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 200, $30622.
9. (8) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 200, $29492.
10. (10) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Ford, 200, $29760.
11. (3) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 200, $29254.
12. (14) Ryan Reed, Ford, 200, $27699.
13. (4) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 200, $27918.
14. (6) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 200, $27639.
15. (16) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 200, $26786.
16. (19) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 200, $26159.
17. (15) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 200, $26033.
18. (25) Ross Chastain #, Chevrolet, 200, $26107.
19. (18) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 200, $25780.
20. (23) Cale Conley #, Toyota, 200, $26154.
21. (17) Ben Rhodes, Chevrolet, 200, $25527.
22. (20) Blake Koch, Toyota, 200, $25371.
23. (27) TJ Bell, Toyota, 200, $25220.
24. (26) David Starr, Toyota, 200, $25068.
25. (21) Harrison Rhodes #, Chevrolet, 200, $25077.
26. (28) Eric McClure, Toyota, 200, $24791.
27. (30) Peyton Sellers #, Chevrolet, 200, $18639.
28. (12) Dakoda Armstrong, Ford, 197, $24462.
29. (34) Jimmy Weller, Chevrolet, 197, $18336.
30. (33) Martin Roy, Chevrolet, 192, $24485.
31. (32) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 192, $24054.
32. (36) Mike Harmon, Dodge, Ignition, 165, $17917.
33. (35) Josh Reaume #, Toyota, 146, $17801.
34. (22) Dylan Lupton, Chevrolet, Accident, 145, $23690.
35. (31) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 134, $17567.
36. (38) Bobby Gerhart, Chevrolet, Engine, 69, $21842.
37. (37) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Handling, 44, $14842.
38. (39) John Jackson, Dodge, Vibration, 34, $13842.
39. (40) Matt Frahm, Chevrolet, Clutch, 5, $12842.
40. (29) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 2, $11842.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 118.812 mph.
Time of Race: 02 Hrs, 31 Mins, 30 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.958 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 7 for 39 laps.
Lead Changes: 23 among 11 drivers.
Lap Leaders: A. Dillon(i) 0; R. Kenseth 1; A. Dillon(i) 2-27; J. Clements 28-29; A. Dillon(i) 30; R. Smith 31-38; E. Jones(i) 39-70; R. Blaney 71-73; E. Jones(i) 74-75; C. Elliott 76; D. Suarez # 77; R. Sieg 78-83; R. Blaney 84-85; E. Jones(i) 86-99; A. Dillon(i) 100; B. Gaughan 101-102; R. Smith 103-112; E. Jones(i) 113-130; R. Blaney 131-133; E. Jones(i) 134-150; B. Gaughan 151-152; D. Starr 153-154; R. Blaney 155-189; E. Jones(i) 190-200.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): E. Jones(i) 6 times for 94 laps; R. Blaney 4 times for 43 laps; A. Dillon(i) 3 times for 28 laps; R. Smith 2 times for 18 laps; R. Sieg 1 time for 6 laps; B. Gaughan 2 times for 4 laps; D. Starr 1 time for 2 laps; J. Clements 1 time for 2 laps; D. Suarez # 1 time for 1 lap; R. Kenseth 1 time for 1 lap; C. Elliott 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 10 in Points: C. Buescher – 528; T. Dillon – 499; C. Elliott – 485; R. Smith – 466; D. Wallace Jr. # – 462; E. Sadler – 447; B. Scott – 430; B. Gaughan – 419; R. Reed – 410; D. Suarez # – 407.

-30-

June 19, 2015

By Rob Gray
NASCAR Wire Service

NEWTON, Iowa — Last season, a powerful run through Iowa Speedway helped Erik Jones finally emerge from the tall shadows cast by bad luck.

But the talented 19-year-old’s relationship with misfortune re-formed in 2015 — until, again, Iowa.

Jones entered Friday’s American Ethanol 200 winless in eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts this season and stung by back-to-back finishes of 23rd and 15th.

He left the track pumping his fists, victorious.

The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver led 112 laps and dominated most of the race en route to his fifth career series triumph.

“We’ve had fast trucks,” Jones said. “Things just haven’t been happening. Just kept fighting the good fight and waited for it to come around.”

Jones sped to the victory by 5.661 seconds over Brandon Jones, who notched a career-best runner-up finish.

Tyler Reddick finished third, Matt Crafton took fourth and Christopher Bell — in his first career start — completed the top five. Crafton retained his points lead by 12 over Reddick. Jones now stands third, 26 points behind Crafton.

“I think we’ve had speed all year long, honestly,” said Brandon Jones, whose GMS Racing teammate, Spencer Gallagher, secured a career-high second last weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park. “It’s just starting to come around for us.”

Bell started 10th and the former USAC National Midget Champion hadn’t raced on pavement until last September.

“I just had one expectation and goal and that was just to finish the race,” Bell said. “I really didn’t know what to expect, so to come out with a top five, I’m just thrilled about it.”

A different type of excitement pulsed through Jones, who earlier Friday became the series’ youngest Keystone Light 21 means 21 Pole winner at Iowa (19 years, 20 days).

He led the first 43 laps, slipped back to ninth after a lap 53 restart, but patiently threaded to third by lap 98.

Jones re-took the lead for good on lap 128, surging by Crafton on another restart and within 15 laps had built a 1.5-second advantage.

Crafton led 33 laps and nearly outdueled Reddick for third in the closing stages. His ThorSport Racing teammates, Johnny Sauter and Cameron Hayley, led 14 and 37 laps, respectively, before mechanical issues put them off the pace.

Jones finally evaded a similar setback.

“This one’s just enjoyment now,” Jones said. “We’re back in the swing of things. I guess the last month was just stressful all around. Stressful on me as a person. … I kind of came to realize it doesn’t come as easy as everybody thinks it does. I had a lot of success early on and definitely got into kind of a hard spot.”

Make that hard spots.

His win last season at Iowa’s fast, short track ignited a much-needed hot streak that followed a 23rd-place finish at Gateway.

Deja vu?

“It’s really similar,” Jones said. “Last year we really kind of came off the same beginning to the season to this point and went here and kind of turned everything around. So I would say our luck or whatever you want to call it was worse this year at the beginning of the year than it was last year, but definitely a similar feel in getting back to Victory Lane here and getting things going in the right direction.”

It worked last season.

Jones closed out the 2014 Camping World Trucks season with two more wins and posted at least a top-seven finish in seven of the final eight races.

And while it’s doubtful 2015 will fully mirror 2014, Jones offered a confident prediction.

“It took is a while to get here, but now that we’re here I think we’ll keep reeling a few off.”

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – American Ethanol 200
Iowa Speedway
Newton, Iowa
Friday, June 19, 2015

1. (1) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 200, $48421.
2. (4) Brandon Jones #, Chevrolet, 200, $29147.
3. (3) Tyler Reddick, Ford, 200, $27459.
4. (9) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 200, $21600.
5. (10) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 200, $18646.
6. (16) Timothy Peters, Toyota, 200, $16562.
7. (14) Spencer Gallagher, Chevrolet, 200, $16006.
8. (13) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 200, $15757.
9. (7) Cole Custer, Chevrolet, 200, $15701.
10. (12) John Wes Townley, Chevrolet, 200, $16596.
11. (11) Justin Boston, Toyota, 200, $15591.
12. (18) Austin Theriault #, Ford, 200, $15451.
13. (8) Ben Kennedy, Toyota, 200, $15396.
14. (6) Caleb Holman, Chevrolet, 200, $13090.
15. (23) Ray Black Jr. #, Chevrolet, 199, $15801.
16. (17) Mason Mingus, Chevrolet, 199, $15062.
17. (20) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 198, $14952.
18. (22) Timmy Hill, Chevrolet, 198, $14813.
19. (5) Cameron Hayley #, Toyota, 198, $14702.
20. (19) Tyler Young, Chevrolet, 197, $13897.
21. (27) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 196, $13230.
22. (26) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 193, $12119.
23. (2) John H. Nemechek #, Chevrolet, Accident, 157, $11980.
24. (21) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, Drive Shaft, 148, $11897.
25. (29) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, Oil Leak, 93, $12019.
26. (25) Korbin Forrister #, Chevrolet, Engine, 65, $11841.
27. (15) Jake Griffin, Chevrolet, Accident, 41, $11786.
28. (30) Tommy Regan, Chevrolet, Electrical, 33, $11539.
29. (28) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, Suspension, 24, $11511.
30. (31) Michael Affarano(i), Chevrolet, Vibration, 22, $11011.
31. (24) Justin Jennings, Chevrolet, Electrical, 15, $9511.
32. (32) Caleb Roark, Chevrolet, Vibration, 5, $8511.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 96.73 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 48 Mins, 33 Secs. Margin of Victory: 5.860 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 6 for 36 laps.
Lead Changes: 6 among 5 drivers.
Lap Leaders: E. Jones # 1-43; J. Sauter 44-57; C. Hayley # 58-94; M. Crafton 95-127; E. Jones # 128-152; B. Jones # 153-156; E. Jones # 157-200.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): E. Jones # 3 times for 112 laps; C. Hayley # 1 time for 37 laps; M. Crafton 1 time for 33 laps; J. Sauter 1 time for 14 laps; B. Jones # 1 time for 4 laps.
Top 10 in Points: M. Crafton – 370; T. Reddick – 358; E. Jones # – 344; J. Sauter – 327; J. Townley – 294; S. Gallagher – 288; T. Peters – 283; D. Hemric # – 282; C. Hayley # – 280; B. Kennedy – 269.

-30-

WRITTEN BY: Jonah Rens is 13 years old, and is a junior NASCAR reporter/writer for The Final Lap. His opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of The Final Lap. Follow him on Twitter @NascarRens

It came with a restart with 26 laps to go. And it was green the rest of the way. Certainly what young Erik Jones wanted to see. Jones fought off Dale Earnhardt Jr. And Brad Keselowski to claim his 1st career NASCAR XFINITY series victory in Texas. Keselowski finished 1.624 seconds behind Jones to finish second. Earnhardt Jr finished third followed by Regan Smith, and Austin Dillon rounded out the top five. Darrell Wallace Jr. sixth, Denny Hamlin seventh, Chase Elliott the defending NASCAR XFINITY Champion and spring 2014 race winner at Texas finished eighth, Chris Buescher who had damage after he made contact with the wall on the back-straightaway early in the race overcame that problem to finish ninth and Brian Scott rounded out the top ten. Continue reading “Erik Jones Claims XFINITY Series win in Texas”